How to live to 100? By Tahnee Thibodeau, RD, CNSC

There are no miracle cures for longevity! What’s on your plate matters more than you think! Here are the top 10 foods you should have in your pantry and refrigerator so you can eat them every single day:                  Healthy Greens:  help protect against cognitive decline, age related eye problems and support bone health by getting a daily serving of dark leafy greens. Diets high in cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cabbage, kale, etc) help reduce the risk of memory loss and cancer. Try superfoods such as kale, collars, Swiss chard, escarole, arugula and spinach in stir-fries, salads, stews and soup.

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Whole Grains:  are high in fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.  They also lower your risk for cardiovascular disease and cancer. Whole grains are more slowly digested therefore they help prevent high blood sugar and diabetes. Whole grains also help fuel exercise and provide a source of fuel for your muscles. Try whole grains such as brown rice, quinoa, barley, oatmeal, etc as main or side dishes.

Berries:  are rich in antioxidant compounds called anthocyanins, which have been shown to slow the growth of certain cancers as well as improve brain function, muscle tone, and balance. Enjoy fresh or frozen berries as a snack, in salads, smoothies, or in sauces. Because of the high anti-oxidant content of berries, they are considered a super fruit and should be consumed daily.

Olive Oil: also contains disease-fighting antioxidants and anti-inflammatory monounsaturated fat. Olive oil is a large component of the Mediterranean diet, which has been show to lower rates of cardiovascular disease, cancer, and age- related decline in people who follow this way of eating. Use as your main cooking oil, in salad dressings or as a dip for bread. Make sure not to heat olive oil to high temperatures because it has a low smoke point and will turn rancid.

Tomatoes: Contain lycopenes, which are anti-oxidants that helps maintain youthful skin texture and may reduce the risks of some cancers and heart disease. Daily consumption of tomatoes or tomato sauce can decrease your risk of developing high blood pressure. Tomatoes can also help protect your eyes from age-related macular degeneration. Try cooked tomatoes in sauces rather than raw to increase lycopene content.

Nuts: Varieties such as almonds, pistachios and walnuts contain generous helpings of healthy fat, vitamins and protein that benefit cardiovascular and brain health. Nuts are also high in compounds that ease inflammation. Aim for a daily serving of one ounce of your favorite nuts.   

Red Grapes:  contain an antioxidant called resveratrol that has been shown to increase longevity. Resveratrol has anti-inflammatory and anticoagulant properties which may explain why red wine and purple grape juice help to promote heart health.  Eat grapes and drink unsweetened purple grape juice, or red wine in moderation.

Fish: Oily fish provides omega-3-fatty acids, which fight inflammation in the body. People who eat several servings of oily fish per week have lower risk of Alzheimer’s disease and stroke. Choose fish that is less likely to be contaminated with mercury and other pollutants such as wild Alaskan salmon, Alaskan black cod and canned sardine. There is a reason fish is known as brain food!

Tea: Contains EGCG, which is one of the most powerful antioxidants known. White and green tea contains the most EGCG. Numerous studies have linked tea consumption to lower rates of heart disease, cancer and Alzheimer’s disease. Choose organic tea to avoid pesticide exposure. Aim to drink several cups a day for the best protection. Avoid adding milk, which may block the antioxidant activity. Treat yourself to new varieties of tea. A warm cup of tea is an easy way to warm up on a cold Michigan morning.

 Herbs and Spices: most contain anti-inflammatory compunds that may reduce age-related conditions such as Alzheimer’s Disease. The antioxidant substances found in garlic and onions protect against heart disease and cancer. Cinnamon may also help with blood sugar control. Season your food liberally with herbs and spices.

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